Highlights 4/4 to 4/10

Using the latest technologies, this two-part Nature series will take us inside the animal to present an innovative and revolutionary look at the bioengineering of “how animals work,” at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Sean Bean returns to Masterpiece Classic as British soldier-hero Richard Sharpe, a rough diamond who has risen through the ranks of the army. “Sharpe’s Challenge” and “Sharpe’s Peril” air back-to-back starting at 6 p.m. Sunday/

Mormons, a four-hour exploration into the richness, the complexities and the controversies of the Mormons’ story as told through interviews with members of the church, leading writers and historians, and supporters and critics of the Mormon faith. See part one on Monday at 8 p.m. and part two on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Two and a half millennia ago, a new religion was born in northern India, generated from the ideas of a single man, Buddha. Award-winning filmmaker David Grubin tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Beginning at a small, off-Broadway theater, a group of talented young artists produced an original musical that some have called a modern day West Side Story. Great Performances follows the cast and creative team as they embark on the greatest adventure of their young careers at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The ever-evolving Wilco returns to Austin City Limits, performing classics and cuts from Sky Blue Sky at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday.

Host Evan Smith talks with Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards on Texas Monthly Talks at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The pilot episode of Haunted Texas at 7:30 p.m. Thrusday is a half-hour real life adventure that uses in-depth historical research along with technology to explore the unexplained from the past to the present.

American Experience: Eyes on the Prize features black college students who took a leadership role in the civil rights movement as lunch counter sit-ins spread across the South 8 p.m. Thursday.

Nashville band of brothers, Kings of Leon, rocks the Austin City Limits studio in support and psychedelic innovator Roky Erickson demonstrates why he’s a Texas rock & roll legend with songs from the length and breadth of his 40-year career at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Highlights 3/28 to 4/3

From the U.S. capture of the Mariana Islands, through the firebombing of Tokyo and the dropping of the atomic bomb, Victory in the Pacific: American Experience Monday at 8 p.m. chronicles the dreadful and unprecedented loss of life and the decisions made by leaders on both sides that finally ended the war.

The Cruiser Houston: Of Pride And Purpose, a historical account of the heavy cruiser USS Houston, focuses on events of the often overlooked early months of World War II in the Pacific, as well as the treatment of the prisoners of war at the hands of the Japanese in the following years at 10 p.m. Monday.

Every 48 years, an indigenous species of bamboo, blanketing 30 percent of Mizoram’s 8,100 square miles, blooms once every half-century, spurring an explosion in the rat population which feeds off the bamboo’s fruit. NOVA follows this gripping tale at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

On January 12, 2010, Haiti was leveled by one of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history. Frontline arrived in Port-au-Prince within days, and in this powerful report, bears witness to the disaster at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

At the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics, an innovative public high school in New York City’s South Bronx, Principal Edward Tom leads a dedicated group of teachers, students and parents to inspire new stories of achievement and excellence on Independent Lens at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Tavis Smiley examines the context of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words on liberty, responsibility and freedom and examine the implications of his words today on Tavis Smiley Reports at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Now a giant figure in his field, with such works as the John F. Kennedy Library, the east wing of the National Gallery, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Pyramid at the Louvre on his resume, I.M. Pei strives to bring nature to his work and join modern and tradition into a harmonious whole. Hear his story on American Masters at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Showcased on Great Performances at 9 p.m. Wednesday, the five movements of the Opus Jazz blend ballet, jazz, and ballroom with Latin, African, and American rhythms to create a style that remains expressive, sensual and contemporary.

Ben Harper debuts his new band, Relentless7, with a rocking set drawn from his album White Lies for Dark Times on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday.

Actor Thomas Haden Church discusses his career on Texas Monthly Talks at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Downtown takes a look at downtown living and the concept of urban density.

Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, part one and two of the American Experience: Eyes on the Prize series, traces the civil rights movement from the Montgomery bus boycott in 1954 to the Voting Rights Act in 1965 on Thursday at 8 p.m.

The ever-evolving Wilco returns to Austin City Limits, performing classics and cuts from its latest disk, Sky Blue Sky at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Highlights 3/21 to 3/27

Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classics –The 60’s presents classic full-length music performances – no plate spinners or dancing elephants – that evoke the spirit of that decade’s youth movement 7 p.m. Sunday and 9 p.m. Monday and Thursday.

My Music presents Big Band Years, a music retrospective featuring the biggest songs that got us through World War II and kick-started the baby boom with brassy legends that will take your members on a “Sentimental Journey” this Monday at 7 p.m.

What are dreams and why do we have them? NOVA joins the leading dream researchers and witnesses the extraordinary experiments they use to investigate the world of sleep Tuesday at 7 p.m.

In Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, award winning psychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen gives you 10 very simple steps that will help you: live longer, look younger, be thinner, and decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, heart disease, cancer and diabetes Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

A stubborn iconoclast fights a lonely battle on behalf of a species nearly everyone hates on National Parks: America’s Best Idea and America’s “Last Frontier” becomes a testing ground for the future of the park idea Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Financial planner Steph Olsen shares her secrets to financial freedom and good money habits. In a three-part pledge event called Steph Olsen: The Power Of Money, Steph relays helpful information about the role money plays in everyday lives and suggests ways to harness its power Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

The delightful, entertaining, and inspiring members of the Young@Heart Chorus, a New England senior citizens chorus, charm audiences worldwide with their renditions of songs by everyone from the Clash to Coldplay Thursday at 7 p.m. on Independent Lens.

Texas Music Extravaganza at 9 p.m. Friday includes performances from a pivotal concert in San Antonio, Texas that featured alumni of the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados with Augie Meyers, Flaco Jimenez, Shawn Sahm, Jack Barber, Ernie Durawa and others.

Central Texas Gardener Spring Special on Saturday at noon features viewer favorites to get you ready for spring gardening. Host Tom Spencer and producer Linda Lehmusvirta answer some of the top viewer questions about gardening at this time of year.

Highlights 3/14 to 3/20

Celtic Thunder – It’s Entertainment!, filmed in Toronto, features Celtic Thunder’s five lead members as well as nine new dancers at 7 p.m. on Sunday and Wednesday.

T.A.M.I. Show – Rock’n’Roll’s First Concert Film at 7 p.m. Sunday introduced rock ‘n’ soul youth culture to America in the first concert movie of the rock era. This version features the Beach Boys’ performances that were removed following the film’s initial theatrical run. more

Highlights 2/28 to 3/6

Nature follows intrepid researchers and cameramen on Sunday at 7 p.m. as they track skunks day and night across California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Ohio to determine how they hunt, forage, mate and raise their young.

“The 39 Steps,” an adaptation of the popular John Buchan adventure novel originally popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, set on the eve of World War I. This 90-minute Masterpiece drama follows mining engineer Richard Hannay who gets caught up in a conspiracy following the death of a British spy found in his apartment at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Style icon, extravagant hostess, humanitarian, doting mother, trusted political advisor, and diplomat are all the roles we now expect in a First Lady, roles created by President James Madison’s wife, Dolley. Dolley Madison: American Experience, airing at 8 p.m. Monday, features Eve Best as Dolley and Jefferson Mays as James Madison.

Morristown: Where America Survived at 9:30 p.m. Monday revisits the “hard winter” of 1779-80, when General George Washington’s troops arrived at the densely wooded area south of Morristown to build a log hut city for their camp.


Highlights 2/21 to 2/27

Nature explores Florida’s Everglades National Park, one of the last great wildlife refuges in the United States. However, as tens of thousands of giant pythons invaded, the refuge has become less of a haven and more of a killing ground. See it 7 p.m. Sunday.

Sally Hawkins appears as Anne Elliot, destined for spinsterhood at age 27 after being persuaded eight years earlier to refuse the proposal of dashing Captain Wentworth. Then chance brings them together again on Masterpiece Classic at 8 p.m. Sunday. more

Highlights 2/14 to 2/20

The Druids are the most celebrated wolf pack in North America; new pioneers in the wilderness, they were at the heart of a massive scientific experiment to restore an entire ecosystem that began to break down without its wolves. See the intimate record of their lives on Nature at 7 p.m, Sunday.

In Jane Austen’s gentle parody of gothic fiction, romance addict Catherine Morland is invited to a medieval country house that appeals to her most lurid fantasies, and forms a budding romance with the younger son on the estate at 8 p.m. Sunday on Masterpiece Classic.

A saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy, see how the Kennedy story is unlike any other on Kennedys: American Experience at 8 p.m. Monday.

Glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at an ever-faster rate. What explains this alarming acceleration? In this high-action scientific adventure, Nova investigates the mystery of the mighty ice sheets that will affect the fate of coastlines around the world on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

In the devastating aftermath of the economic meltdown, Frontline sifts the ashes for clues about why it happened and examines critical moments when it might have gone much differently at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Independent Lens tells the poignant and powerful story of animals left behind during Katrina, and of the struggles of hurricane victims to reunite with their beloved pets at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Episode Two of Faces of America explores the many journeys to becoming American that defined the “Century of Immigration” (1820s –1924) and transformed the United States into a booming industrial power at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

As America embraces the automobile, a Nebraska housewife searches for peace and inspiration in park after park, while a honeymoon couple seeks fame and adventure in the Grand Canyon on National Parks: America’s Best Idea at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin form “Them Crooked Vultures” and bust out high volume rock ‘n’ roll on Austin City Limits as at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday.

Newsweek editor and Pulitzer prize-winning author Jon Meacham discusses the future of print journalism and more on Texas Monthly Talks at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Austin @ Issue: Energy for the Future at 7:30 p.m. Thursday features a discussion of Austin’s proposed long-range Resource and Climate Protection Plan with Austin Energy General Manager Roger Duncan and other experts and stakeholders.

Taped before a live audience at the Texas Lyceum Conference, experts on Great Debate Series: Cyber Security discuss issues of personal privacy and security of on-line information in the age of Social Networking at 8 p.m. Thursday.

With a backbone of Southern rock and country, passionate VanZant vocals, and trademark layered guitars, Lynyrd Skynyrd deliver renditions of their iconic classics on Soundstage that will blow you away at 9 p.m. Thursday.

In their debut Austin City Limits appearance, influential superstars R.E.M. take the stage in support of their latest acclaimed record, Accelerate at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Highlights 2/7 to 2/13

We may think we know what is beautiful and what isn’t, but in the natural world beauty can be many things—including what we might find completely repulsive. Nature shows us how the ugly can be beautiful at 7 p.m. Sunday.

How will Jane Austen, the master of happy endings, tie up the tangled affairs of her heroines Emma Woodhouse, Harriet Smith and Jane Fairfax? Find out on Masterpiece Classic “Emma” at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Texas Debate: Race for Governor at 7 p.m. Monday features the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates. Antiques Roadshow will air at 8 p.m. following the debate.

The Bombing of Germany: American Experience is a film that examines the defining moments of the offensive that led the U.S. across a moral divide. Weaving together interviews with WWII pilots and historians, and archival footage of the bombing and its aftermath, the film at 9 p.m. Monday is a reminder of the dilemma imposed by war’s civilian casualties.


Highlights 1/24 to 1/30

Unique to North America, the bald eagle is the continent’s most recognizable aerial predator, yet Nature shows that even in the best of times it’s a surprisingly tough struggle to maintain a home and raise chicks until they can hunt on their own. See it Sunday at 7 p.m.


Highlights 1/17 to 1/23

What happens when two great predators come face to face in Yellowstone? Find out on Nature at 7 p.m. Sunday when the grizzly and the wolf face off. In every encounter, the opposition is measured, strengths are tested, and risks are carefully weighed. They key is knowing your own strengths and limitations in the heat of the moment.

Judi Dench returns in the sequel to the Emmy-nominated “Cranford” mini-series, the acclaimed story of everyday life in a small Cheshire market town on Masterpiece Classic at 8 p.m. Sunday.

My Music: Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classics at 8 p.m. Monday presents classic song performances from 1963-1968. From the Beatles’ American television debut to the Doors’ infamous one-time-only appearance to the Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, the Mamas and the Papas and more.

Brain Fitness Frontiers at 10 p.m. Monday looks at the impact of virtual reality in changing memories and dealing with pain, the ability of the brain to interface with mechanical and electronic instruments in such a way that the brain can control them without any interface by the human body.

The Great Sphinx is disappearing; the sands of Egypt have buried this wonder of the ancient world. Nova follows the team to find out if they can reverse the destructive forces of man and nature to save this wonder of the ancient world at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: “Dancing Boys of Afghanistan” has been postponed. Instead Frontline will show “A Death in Tehran” at 8 p.m. Tuesday. At the height of the protests following Iran’s controversial presidential election this summer, a young woman named Neda Soltani was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran. Her death—filmed on a cameraphone, then uploaded to the web—quickly became an international outrage, and Soltani became the face of a powerful movement that threatened the hardline government’s hold on power.

Independent Lens examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law and, of course, money at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Learn of the essential components of the Human Spark–the attributes that make humans unique at 7 p.m. Wednesday. One of those faculties is the fascinating link between two of humans’ most characteristic abilities – language and the use of tools.

Great Performances at the Met goes behind the scenes 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, where thousands of hopefuls compete for a cash prize, the chance to sing on the Met stage, and the opportunity to launch a major operatic career.

Hip hop conquers the ACL stage with sets from Somalian native K’naan, performing songs from his acclaimed LP, Troubadour, and alternative rapper/actor Mos Def, supporting his latest record, The Ecstatic, on Wednesday at 10 p.m. and Friday at 9 p.m.

Railroad Commissioner and Senate candidate Michael Williams sits down with Evan Smith to talk politics on Texas Montly Talks at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Tim McGraw has sold over 40 million albums, dominated the charts with 30 Number One singles, and received three Grammys. The 2009 release of his tenth studio album represents a new level of depth and intensity for the seasoned country artist, showcased on this episode of Soundstage at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Rising roots rock kings the Avett Brothers perform songs from their latest album at 7 p.m. Saturday on Austin City Limits. Ohio-to-Austin transplants Heartless Bastards follow with their classic rock ‘n’ roll.